Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Being a professional bonsai artist, means that even on your day off, you work.
Unless of course you are away from home at some convention or something. But when you are home, there is always something to be done.
I have to balance my time between planning for demo's, workshops, working on clients collections, teaching at home and abroad before I can think of working on my own trees. Then of course there's keeping on top of the weeds and nettles in the nursery that are growing like triffids this year due to the months of rain we have had.
This year has been so bad for weeds, and I have been so busy that I am embarressed to say that the weeds have actually got on top. Unfortunately I am not in the situation where, if this were Japan, I could deploy my apprentises to weed pull.
I can still remember clearly the weed pulling and needle collecting on my hands and knees that I did every morning for several hours in the nursery of Hotsumi Terakawa. Armed with a pair of tweezers and a plastic bucket, I would tidy the display area in the nursery every morning before being allowed near a tree or pot. But that's another story.

Today is a 'free' day for me in theory. So obviously there was something that needed doing. I could have done some weeding, but I was desperate to work on one of my own trees. I sometimes find that working on other peoples trees week in and week out can make you crazy to work on your own trees. I also find working on my own trees ignites my passion for bonsai when sometimes I feel stale.
So I decided to do some work on the deadwood of a few junipers that I am developing.
Here are a few images showing how over time deadwood can be developed/enhanced.

(Click any image to enlarge)


Just like the foliage on a tree, the deadwood can be worked on and maintained over time.
Whether I create deadwood on a tree or I collect or buy a tree that already has deadwood. I am always looking to improve the texture of the wood. For me it is not just about the shape of the deadwood. It is too easy to get wrapped up in the deadwood, and carving in particular and to focus on this and miss the bigger picture.

Even when you are happy with the look of the deadwood you have created, there is then the maintenance work which must be done regularly to make sure you keep the wood in good condition. Remember, if you have green on your deadwood, it is not just a colour. Try to think of it as something eating away at your trees deadwood. For that reason, don't just lime sulphur your deadwood when it gets algae and turns green. Try to treat your wood several times a year before it gets the algae. When you are stood looking at your trees thinking how perfect they look and you wished there was something to do, THERE IS! Get your brush out and lime sulphur your deadwood.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Seigaku Ishi.

Well as if buying a new Dougie Mudd stand was not enough, two days later I took delivery of a new Japanese suiseki courtesy of David Goscinski in the USA.

One of my students had told me they had seen a really nice SEIGAKU ISHI for sale on a site and wondered if I had seen it. Well of course when I looked it was no where to be seen. So after checking that my student was still taking his medication, I decided to email the guy to see if it had sold or been withdrawn. I was pleased to find that the stone was still available and decided to purchase it.
The guy who had the stone for sale was was David Goscinski, and what a pleasure to do business with he turned out to be. I would certainly buy from him again. Many thanks David.

                                                                       (Click to view)

Here is the Seigaku Ishi stone from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. on top of it's Kiri-Bako.
It is 5.5"W X 3"H  X 4"D.
It is an uncut stone and has a well made rose wood daiza.

                                                                       (Click to view)

What a great way to start my blog!

Well September has got off to great start. And what better way to start my blog than with a new Dougie Mudd table, and a new Japanese suiseki from the USA.

I was kindly invited to judge the Wirral Bonsai Society annual show up at Gordale Garden Centre in the Wirral on September 1st. and my friend Doug Mudd was there. I asked Dougie if he still had a table for sale that I had seen at another show where he had had a sales table, and I was pleased as punch when he said he still had the table available.
He was good enough to pop home and get the table for me to look at again, and of course I had to have it.

                                                                      (Click to view)

Well here it is, absolutely superb.
Dougie is without doubt one of the best stand makers around and a great guy as well. It is great when you can support home grown talent, and Dougie has been making beautiful bonsai stands for some time now. It still amazes me that there are still people who have not heard of him.
So guys, remember the name, DOUG MUDD.

                                                                        (Click to view)

Here is a close up showing the detail Dougie has put into the legs. I am very pleased with my purchase.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it. Dougie brought another stand along for me to see which he still had to make a carrying box for. He said he would be interested to hear my opinion of the table. But I think he knew I would want it. Did I say he was a good businessman!
Anyway it was amazing! I had to have it, and reserved it there and then. It was proving to be an expensive day out. But Heh, your only here once!
This new table is quite different to the stand I had already bought that day. But what was amazing, was the patina Dougie had achieved. The table looked antique, and I said to Dougie this is the way forward. It is similar to how Gordon Duffet can make pots look antique. When you have a quality tree, it should be in a quality pot and displayed on a quality stand and not on some laquered orange box.
What swayed it for me is that I am developing a tree I hope to show in a few years and this table is perfect for it.
I am really excited about this stand and I really hope Dougie can replicate this patina on other stands.
So watch this space and I will post pictures when I get the new stand.

I must say a big thank you to all the Wirral boys for making me welcome and for all their banter and p..s taking.